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More than one for the road



It's the biking motif all around at Roadtrip — Photo: K. Murali Kumar

AT ROADTRIP, you not only bite into some distinctive continental cuisine, you also get plenty to eye and talk about. Motorcycles share the floor space with you and your fellow diners, and all conversations revolve round the gleaming steel beauties. What's more, they gleam under the lights made from salvaged motorcycle headlights. Retired motorcycle handlebars are re-employed here as door handles. The menu card, with visuals of bikes, take you on a trip that can only be described as something off the beaten track. The interiors, which can accommodate about 50, have been designed by Neeraj and Dyan Beliappa, who have also done Grass Hopper.

All this because 27-year-old Neeraj was inspired by the movie Roadtrip, and he wanted an identity for the place that was unusual. Neeraj has been a racing enthusiast and has taken part in drags in the U.S. and India too. That explains the name and theme. But why would a PR professional and theatre person, who has had success with plays like A Midsummer Nights Dream and Sex Lies And Video Tape, want to choose a new stage? He has a background in the hospitality industry, and considering the spending habits of Bangaloreans and the 30 to 40 percent growth in this sector, Neeraj know this was something he would relish very much.

The location of the place near Indiranagar and the advantage of the Ring Road and Koramangala, the home of Intel, HP, and other software offices, was just ideal for his kind of venture.

And then he had friends and relatives who owned two-wheelers — new and antique — that they could display at his restaurant. Neeraj changes the line-up of the bikes every three weeks. The motorcycle theme has evidently been lapped up by all, including women. Youngsters, biking freaks, foreigners, and party animals, of course, haunt the restaurant.

The fact that Neeraj and his restaurant were featured in BBC's Wheels and Star World has also helped its popularity.

Coming to the food, Neeraj's continental menu is limited "to help make the choice easier", but provides variety by way of periodic menu revamps done by three head chefs. The beer, cheese, and chicken soup, the only one of its kind in India, is quite a hit. Greek salad, is a typical continental delight. The main course includes grilled lamb chops, served with buttered vegetables, fries, yoghurt dip and garlic bread. Moussaka, made of lamb mince and aubergine bake, topped with mozzarella and choice of bread or rice, is distinct.

Chicken breast, stuffed with chicken, nuts, raisins, and cheese and served with mustard gravy, is another popular dish as is the European-style steak called steak Diane. The vegetarian fare is equally tempting with avocado salsa pita, veg lasagne, and cheese fritters. The cheese is imported and the vegetables are organically grown.

You can then leave with a lingering taste of chocolate truffle, fig and red wine ice cream, black currant, almond and rum ice cream. Neeraj says he could feed two hungry souls with a meal of a main course made up of pasta, starters, soup (by-two), juice, and dessert for cost Rs. 500. And if they go in for beer or wine, it would cost Rs. 600 to Rs. 700.

Plans are afoot to start the lazy Sundays breakfast. The hotel is open on other days between noon till 3 p.m. and from 7 p.m. till 11 p.m. Call Roadtrip on 51155848.

Speciality: Continental cuisine
Ambience: Woven around the biking theme
Wallet Factor: Food for two will cost between Rs.500 and Rs.700

M.V. CHANDRASHEKAR

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